Photography as Spiritual Practice?


© Sharon Brown Christopher

One recent morning  ended in frustration after wrestling with the gremlins that possess my computer occasionally. In a word, I was vexed! Synonyms for “vexed” include annoyed, angry, irritated, displeased, cross. I was all of the above. As a result, my interior spaciousness closed,  and all my categories were hardened to the point of brittleness. My natural inclination when I am in this state is to pull in, hunker down, resist.

It was a phone conversation with a friend that invited me to act in counter-intuitive fashion by picking up my camera and going out for a couple hours with her to look at the fall leaves through our lenses.

I was sure, at first, that the conditions were not going to be right, that the color was not yet at its peak, that the looming clouds were going to dump rain on us, that the temperature might numb my fingers. Defying my resistance, I put the camera to my eye, looked around, and in so doing I began to change.

As I looked…and saw…my gaze shifted to a perspective larger than my immediate feelings. I began to detach from my muddle, focus beyond myself, hone my vision, and perceive another world in the midst of this one. Inspiration emerged and began to take root.

My categories began to soften and my interior space began to expand. I moved from closed to open, from resistance to reception, from vexation to a spaciousness that had room for others and the world of mystery that surrounded me. From this widening of the space  within creativity began to flow.

My friend, after seeing the image above, asked if it reflected the softness I was feeling within me at the time I made it. I smiled to myself. “Yes,” I thought. My internal change was reflected in my results.

Contributed by Sharon Brown Christopher

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